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Poets, Artists & Madmen

New is exciting. New makes you want to prance around and show off. But new don't last forever. Last year, we celebrated all kinds of new and exciting things about the local arts scene, but we wondered if Atlanta's poets, artists and madmen could build on the momentum they had gained.

The answer? You betcha.

The indie dance scene blossomed into a full-on movement, the local filmmaking scene hummed along with passion and excitement and the High Museum mounted its most expansive exhibit yet for a local artist.

After helping redefine the city's artistic identity, a new confidence seems to have arisen among Atlanta's emerging artists, a maturity that's allowed for an increasingly refined and nuanced creative community.

Now that's something to prance around and show off about.

Debbie Michaud

Best author to befuddle the critics

Blake Butler

When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic »more

Best comedian

Tanner Inman

Tanner Inman's jokes start with regular-guy observations and then take absurdist twists. He can segue from deadpan delivery to amusingly spazzy imitations of Salt-n-Pepa or »more

Best comedy collective

The Beards of Comedy

In 2009, rising comedians Andy Sandford, Dave Stone, TJ Young and Joe Zimmerman looked for a hook to promote their touring shows. The then-clean-shaven Zimmerman »more

Best crowning moment for a hometown art hero

Memory as Medicine

Radcliffe Bailey has been one of Atlanta's most respected and established artists for years now. His artwork is featured in prestigious museum collections ranging from »more

Best emerging visual artist

Gyun Hur

Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever »more

Best film festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

None of Atlanta's current film festivals captures the standing-room-only sense of "event" with the scale of the handsomely funded Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. The subject »more

Best film series

Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night

Tireless local arts advocate WonderRoot made an impact this past year with its Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night. The quarterly series, screened at the »more

Best gallery

Get This! Gallery

There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans »more

Best local art beef

World Wide Arts Federation art battles

The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk »more

Best local poet

Kevin Young

Poet Kevin Young has drawn on musical traditions from blues to jazz to gospel throughout his career, especially in his 2003 National Book Award-finalist poetry »more

Best local tv production with a license to kill

Floyd County Productions

Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as »more

Best male actor and best female actor

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid are not a couple off stage — much to the relief of Tess's husband Mark Kincaid, who's no slouch »more

Best museum

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead »more

Best opening

Launch of Streetela

In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's »more

Best place to cut your teeth

Relapse Theatre

Veteran improvisers and big-name comedians alike perform at the five-year-old Relapse Theatre. But the 14th Street venue also serves as a proving ground for aspiring »more

Best play

August: Osage County

Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual »more

Best playwright

Pearl Cleage

Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah »more

Best reason to read between the lines

"10 Stories High"

What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you »more

Best reason to wander into a vacant warehouse

Dashboard Co-Op

Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization »more

Best reinvention of the reading series

Restaurant Eugene's Author Dinner Series

Chances are that if you like talking about books, you also like talking about books over food and drinks. That's the beautiful simplicity of Restaurant »more

Best rising theatre company

Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre

Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them »more

Best show of superhuman spirit

Disabled But Able to Rock

In a summer of Hollywood superheroes, the 2011 documentary Disabled But Able to Rock presents the most compelling story of an ordinary person with an »more

Best sign that ATL's dance scene rules

Collaboration

Finding venues, getting exposure and connecting to potential audiences have long been major challenges for Atlanta's independent dancers and choreographers. But recently, an exciting new »more

Best testament to the power of the spoken word

Java Monkey Speaks

Java Monkey Speaks celebrated the 10-year mark in June 2011 and shows no signs of stopping. Founder Kodac Harrison continues to bring his idiosyncratic emcee »more

Best theater company

Actor's Express

An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value »more

Best theatrical experiment

Group Intelligence

In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the »more

Best author to befuddle the critics

Blake Butler

When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic »more

Best comedian

Tanner Inman

Tanner Inman's jokes start with regular-guy observations and then take absurdist twists. He can segue from deadpan delivery to amusingly spazzy imitations of Salt-n-Pepa or »more

Best comedy collective

The Beards of Comedy

In 2009, rising comedians Andy Sandford, Dave Stone, TJ Young and Joe Zimmerman looked for a hook to promote their touring shows. The then-clean-shaven Zimmerman »more

Best crowning moment for a hometown art hero

Memory as Medicine

Radcliffe Bailey has been one of Atlanta's most respected and established artists for years now. His artwork is featured in prestigious museum collections ranging from »more

Best emerging visual artist

Gyun Hur

Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever »more

Best film festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

None of Atlanta's current film festivals captures the standing-room-only sense of "event" with the scale of the handsomely funded Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. The subject »more

Best film series

Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night

Tireless local arts advocate WonderRoot made an impact this past year with its Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night. The quarterly series, screened at the »more

Best gallery

Get This! Gallery

There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans »more

Best local art beef

World Wide Arts Federation art battles

The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk »more

Best local poet

Kevin Young

Poet Kevin Young has drawn on musical traditions from blues to jazz to gospel throughout his career, especially in his 2003 National Book Award-finalist poetry »more

Best local tv production with a license to kill

Floyd County Productions

Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as »more

Best male actor and best female actor

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid are not a couple off stage — much to the relief of Tess's husband Mark Kincaid, who's no slouch »more

Best museum

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead »more

Best opening

Launch of Streetela

In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's »more

Best place to cut your teeth

Relapse Theatre

Veteran improvisers and big-name comedians alike perform at the five-year-old Relapse Theatre. But the 14th Street venue also serves as a proving ground for aspiring »more

Best play

August: Osage County

Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual »more

Best playwright

Pearl Cleage

Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah »more

Best reason to read between the lines

"10 Stories High"

What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you »more

Best reason to wander into a vacant warehouse

Dashboard Co-Op

Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization »more

Best reinvention of the reading series

Restaurant Eugene's Author Dinner Series

Chances are that if you like talking about books, you also like talking about books over food and drinks. That's the beautiful simplicity of Restaurant »more

Best rising theatre company

Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre

Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them »more

Best show of superhuman spirit

Disabled But Able to Rock

In a summer of Hollywood superheroes, the 2011 documentary Disabled But Able to Rock presents the most compelling story of an ordinary person with an »more

Best sign that ATL's dance scene rules

Collaboration

Finding venues, getting exposure and connecting to potential audiences have long been major challenges for Atlanta's independent dancers and choreographers. But recently, an exciting new »more

Best testament to the power of the spoken word

Java Monkey Speaks

Java Monkey Speaks celebrated the 10-year mark in June 2011 and shows no signs of stopping. Founder Kodac Harrison continues to bring his idiosyncratic emcee »more

Best theater company

Actor's Express

An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value »more

Best theatrical experiment

Group Intelligence

In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the »more

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